Canning in the New Year

Apples are not my most favorite fruit – I tend to run towards more exotic offerings not seen in New England crops: pineapples, mangoes, kumquats, you get the idea. However, I love applesauce (especially for baking) and the apples have been lovely in my morning juice. With this giant bag of heirloom seconds from Apex Orchards I set off to some of my favorite canning blogs to see what adventures I could have.

My first find was this delicious-sounding Apple Bourbon Butter from Kaela at Local Kitchen. I had recently purchased a bottle of bourbon whiskey to start vanilla extract in with some vanilla seed pods I got from the coop. It seemed only natural to use more of this bourbon for cooking purposes and I loved the idea of molasses to darken up the butter!

Bourbon Apple Butter

The recipe came out delicious and I loved Kaela’s suggestion to reserve the apple juice for a second recipe: Apple Jelly with Lemon & Lavender. I’ve not had the best success with jellies as a canner – I made a lovely peach pit & peel jelly that never gelled over the summer. 😦

I followed the recipe to the T except I brought my heat up to 220 (F) as suggested by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Based on the guidelines from those guys I will likely have to wait a week or two to see if my jelly is, well, jellied. I practically licked the pot clean though and it was very tasty, not to sweet and the lemon and lavender gave it some nice notes. Mmm. Can’t wait to pop open a jar later this month!

Apple Jelly with Lemon & Lavender

First Cantogether of the New Year

I didn’t get any pictures but my canning pal Rebecca and I got together on Sunday for some much-deserved canning therapy and gossip. I brought a bag of cranberries from my freezer and she took out two bags of raspberries from her freezer to culminate in a richly sweet Raspberry Cranberry Pecan Conserve. Oh my! We toasted the pecans first and set into Mrs Wheelbarrow’s recipe adjusting for a slightly longer cook time instead of macerating the fruit overnight. The pecans went in last (we almost forget them!) and really upgraded this from jam to a conserve.

Rebecca is making up a batch of mango cardamom butter in the slow cooker, I’ve had such success with using the slow cooker for my fruit butters I can’t wait to hear about her experience!

Happy Canning!

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